Briefly Noted: September 2022

New Alberta books

By Tadzio Richards

Beyond the Gallery: An Anthology of Visual Encounters (edited by Liuba Gonzalez de Armas and Ana Ruiz Aguirre, Laberinto Press, 2021). “In this anthology, we explore art that exists beyond the exhibition space,” write the editors of this thought-provoking book from Edmonton’s Laberinto Press. “How do we experience art online? On our skin? On a mountain? During a sporting event?” Writing in English and Spanish, the eight Hispanic-Canadian authors in this collection explore both the experience and the creation of art outside gallery spaces, expanding the idea of art to include skywriting and pre-colonial murals, and asking what should be included in contemporary art exhibition spaces. “Can tattoos be considered art?” asks Ana Ruiz Aguirre, in a probing essay. “What makes skin different from canvas?”

Mother Earth: Boreal Beauty of the Peace Country with Flora, Fauna and Fungi ID (published by Sharon Krushel,, 2022)“A sole shutterbug can’t even begin to capture all of the glory and biodiversity of the Peace Country,” writes editor Sharon Krushel. Featuring 31 artists and photographers, this colourful book showcases the abundant outdoors in northwest Alberta, from 386 species of plants, wildlife and fungi—including vermilion waxgills, silvery blue butterflies, lynx, bears and so many birds—to the Peace River as seen from Krushel’s husband’s “home-built experimental aircraft” and shimmering northern lights in the winter sky.


The Annual Migration of Clouds

The Annual Migration of Clouds imagines the University of Alberta as the site of a self-sustaining community in a dystopic near-future: the labyrinthine BioSci building is now living quarters and people risk their lives to hunt wild pigs in the river valley. The result, the fifth book from Edmonton’s Premee ...

Avenue of Champions

Given that Edmonton has the second-largest urban Indigenous population in the country, it astounds me that it took me a lifetime of reading Alberta books to encounter a story like Conor Kerr’s debut novel, Avenue of Champions, set in Edmonton/Amiskwacîwâskahikan, where Kerr has ancestral roots in the Métis, Ukrainian and Papaschase ...

Scratching River

The Métis diaspora, we are a braided river channel, a herd of bison on our way to the grasslands up the way, to our relations,” writes Michelle Porter in Scratching River, a literary memoir that emulates these deliberate, meandering movements over the land. Weaving together stories of her brother Brendon, her ...